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2015 BristolCon Round-Up Posted \o/

September 29th, 2015 · No Comments

The After-the-Con page pulling together the aforementioned links and tweets is up here. Keep them coming; we love to hear about your BristolCon experiences, highs and lows!

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One BristolCon closes, and another one opens…

September 27th, 2015 · No Comments

Hello everyone! 2015’s BristolCon is over, and what a fantastic day-and-a-bit it was. Sterling work from our wonderful guests of honour, who were all as charming as they are talented, and from our crew of minions (including the hotel staff), who took to their tasks with equal measures of effort and good humour, as well, of course, from all the participants and members who make every BristolCon better and better. We had record numbers of attendees, and record amounts of cake.

There are *literally* too many of you to name individually, but to everyone who was involved, and those who wanted to be but were foiled by the hitches and vexations of life, our love, and thanks.

We’ll be linking to blogs and photos over the coming days. I’ll also be rolling the website over to the 2016 convention, because BristolCon NEVER SLEEPS, people. Seriously, we’re really, really excited about next year already, and we hope to see you all again in October! So bear with us while we gear up again; some of us do have slight hangovers to recover from. I hope everyone else’s hangovers are the good sort – the ones that come with great memories of the smiling faces of our friends. xx – Roz

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BristolCon – Last Minute FAQ’s

September 25th, 2015 · No Comments

It’s all kicking off at BristolCon the weekend, so here’s a quick FAQ for you.

Q. What time are the doors?

A. If you want to register TONIGHT, the desk will be open from 6pm until approx 8.30 for you to pick up your badge and goodie bag.

If you’re arriving TOMORROW, the desk will open at 8.45, and the official programme starts at 9.50.

Q. Do I have to bring proof of purchase with me?

A. No, just bring yourself and your name should be on the list. If you’ve left it very late to register you might have to write your own badge (feel free to get creative with it!)

Q. Is there anywhere to sit and chill between panels?

A. Yes, there will be chairs in the “Brick-Out Room” where you can sit and relax. The hotel also has an extensive bar less than 30 seconds walk away.

Q. What about parking?

A. Parking at the hotel is FREE for attendees as long as they don’t park overnight. If you leave your car overnight it costs around £7.50. The hotel car park fills up quickly but there is a large pay-and-display car park just across the road.

Q. And cashpoints. I need cash to buy books!

A. Indeed you do. The nearest cashpoint is at the station but it’s behind the barriers, and the second nearest cash point is on Prince Street, about 10 mins walk away. So stock up on cash before you arrive; BristolCon is sadly located in a cashpoint-free zone!

Feel free to ask more questions on twitter at @bristolcon or @hierath77


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Workshopping BristolCon

September 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

Genre fiction conventions have always been built around panel discussions: the conversations that we, as fans and creators, have around what’s happening in the industry and the subculture we love and how we engage in the ongoing process of interfacing with the wider world. But what really make a convention memorable are the personal experiences we have and the people we meet.

You can attend lots of fascinating panels at BristolCon, as well as lectures from people with real expertise, and on top of that you have the opportunity to get properly stuck in and take part in a workshop on a variety of writing-related topics, or to sit down and chat with a fabulous author (and in the case of this year’s sole kafeeklatsch host, Gareth L Powell, an all round fabulous bloke, well worth a chat with!)

We have no less than NINE such events on the schedule this year, so you’re spoilt for choice! Starting with the ‘How to Give a Great Reading’ workshop on the Friday night and continuing throughout the day on Saturday. The Friday night workshop, like the open mic, is open to non-members; just pitch up and join in! On Saturday our cosy Snug is the place to be to talk about your own writing projects with the pros, in a supportive atmosphere. Refreshments are provided, though in most cases you’ll want to bring your own writing materials. So if you have a project you’re roadblocked on, if you’ve never written before and don’t know where to start, or to find out something new and inspiring, sign up for one of our small group sessions and make this BristolCon one to remember!

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Launching at BristolCon – Spark and Carousel

September 18th, 2015 · No Comments

Launching at this year’s BristolCon will be our very own Joanne Hall‘s sixth novel, Spark and Carousel. Like her earlier novels, it’s a fantastic adventure which tackles serious themes. It’s also a great deal of fun, as Jo set out to write something of a romp this time around, with as much humour as darkness. She’s emphatically succeeded; Spark and Carousel is a delightfully gripping page-turner.

Our Tech department has something up his technomagical wizard’s sleeve for the launch, but he’s not even telling us what it is, so the only certain things are signings, and cake. Come and get your sticky mitts on a slice of something yummy and a piece of cake too.


“Spark is a wanted man. On the run after causing the death of his mentor and wild with untamed magic, he arrives in Cape Carey where his latent talents make him the target of rival gangs. It is there that Carousel, a wire-walker and thief, takes him under her wing to guide him through the intrigues of the criminal underworld.

But when Spark’s magic cracks the world and releases demons from the hells beneath, two mages of his former order make it their mission to prevent his magic from spiralling out of control. They must find him before he falls into the clutches of those who would exploit his raw talent for their own gain, forcing Spark to confront a power he is not ready to handle.
Meanwhile, a wealthy debutante learning magic in secret has her own plans for Spark and Carousel. But the sudden arrival of the mages throws her carefully laid plans into disarray and she unleashes a terrible evil onto the streets of the unsuspecting city—an evil only Spark’s magic can control.

Everyone wants a piece of Spark, but all Spark wants is to rid himself of his talents forever.”

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Time Travel and Real Physics – A Presentation by Professor Ian Stewart

September 17th, 2015 · No Comments

Ian Stewart Wizard

This year at BristolCon we are delighted to be hosting a presentation by Professor Ian Stewart entitled “Time Travel and Real Physics” in which, I am reliably assured, he is going to tell our membership exactly how to build a time machine. Not out of a Delorean, apparently, but he does say that this will be “A quick, accessible trip through those parts of modern physics that bear upon the issue of time travel, such as closed timeline curves in general relativity, cosmic strings, wormholes, and parallel quantum universes. Can we build a time machine? No. Could we do so in the future? Perhaps.”

I assume he might also address the moral and ethical implications of dating your own mother….

Ian Stewart was born in 1945 and educated at Cambridge (MA) and Warwick (PhD). He is an Emeritus Professor in the Mathematics Department at Warwick University, where he divides his time equally between research into nonlinear dynamics and furthering public awareness of mathematics. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Gresham College, London. He has held visiting positions in Germany, New Zealand, and the USA. He has five honorary doctorates (Open University, Westminster, Louvain, Kingston, and Brighton) and is an honorary wizard of Unseen University on Discworld.

He is best known for his popular science writing—mainly on mathematical themes. His awards include the Royal Society’s Faraday Medal (1995), the IMA Gold Medal (2000), the AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award (2001), the LMS/IMA Zeeman Medal (2008), and the Lewis Thomas Prize (2015, joint with Steven Strogatz). Jointly with Martin Golubitsky he won the 2001 Balaguer Prize. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. His book Nature’s Numbers was shortlisted for the 1996 Rhone-Poulenc Prize for Science Books, and Why Beauty is Truth was shortlisted for the 2008 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. His iPad app Incredible Numbers, a collaboration with TouchPress and Profile Books , won the DigitalBookWorld Award for adult nonfiction in 2015 and was selected as one of the 24 ‘Best Apps of 2014’ in the US and Canadian App Stores.

He delivered the 1997 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on BBC television and repeated them in Japan in 1998. The final lecture began by bringing a live tiger into the lecture room. He has made nearly 450 radio broadcasts and 80 television appearances.

He has published more than 80 books including Nature’s Numbers; The Collapse of Chaos (with Jack Cohen); Fearful Symmetry (with Martin Golubitsky); Does God Play Dice?; Why Beauty is Truth, Letters to a Young Mathematician, Life’s Other Secret, the US bestseller Flatterland, and the bestselling Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities and Professor Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures. Recent books are Mathematics of Life, the number one popular science bestseller 17 Equations That Changed the World, The Great Mathematical Problems, and Symmetry: a Very Short Introduction. He has also collaborated with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen on the series The Science of Discworld I, II, III, and IV, all of which reached number 1 or 2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. The first book in the series was nominated for a Hugo award at the World Science Fiction Convention in 2000. The Italian translation of Letters to a Young Mathematician won the Peano Prize.

He is also a critically acclaimed science-fiction author. He has published a number of SF short stories (several in Nature) as well as the novels Wheelers and Heaven (with Jack Cohen) and the eBook Jack of All Trades.

He is an active research mathematician with over 180 published papers, and currently works on pattern formation, chaos, network dynamics, and biomathematics. He lives in Coventry, UK, and is married (44 years and counting) with two sons and three grandchildren.

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Sir Terry Pratchett OBE

September 13th, 2015 · No Comments

By Lewis P Bear and MEG


With the sad loss early this year of Britain’s favourite author Sir Terry Pratchett, the convention committee felt that a man who had touched so many lives should receive some small measure of acknowledgement and thanks. Terry was an essentially shy man who never truly believed in his star status. In the early days when he was a humble convention attendee, his wit and humour impressed many and made him an abundance of friends in science fiction and fantasy circles. He would routinely explain to attendees the plots of his in-progress stories – some of which did not appear in print for many years. Astute readers of his works will notice that characters who become central characters to a later novel were mentioned in passing in earlier books.

Of course it was a two-way street. Like any writer, Terry absorbed ideas from around him. A long discussion with Gytha North (pronounced gee-tha) at one Eastercon led to the division of Witch and Wizard magic in his novels. In other cases, a long rambling late night bar discussion would appear, much improved, as a plot line or sometimes a joke*

These were mere embellishments. The genius was all his own. He could take an un-funny introduction and, by changing only three words, bring the magic to life.

When the suggestion was made that there should be a Discworld Convention, Terry was not, at first, entirely enthusiastic. At that time, conventions were still small fan-run affairs but based around popular media or a particular genre. The idea of an entire weekend event devoted to Discworld and its fans seemed, to him, preposterous. On this subject, he was mistaken.

He was constantly amazed at the positive influence he had on so many lives. This was brought home to him at the first convention when his efforts to cross the foyer to reach the gents were constantly impeded by people thanking him for everything from getting their dyslexic son to read; bringing couples together having seen each other reading his work; accusations of being responsible for the birth of their firstborn; and the simple joy of his remarkable Discworld creation.

He could be witty, charming and acerbic all in the same sentence, but never cruel. Without him, millions of lives would be the poorer and we would like to encourage you to put your thoughts and memories on the tribute board in the foyer to share with your fellow attendees.

This article has been written as a tribute to Terry and his work.
He would’ve written it better.




* In a footnote

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BristolCon and the Refugee Crisis

September 4th, 2015 · Comments Off on BristolCon and the Refugee Crisis

I’m sure you’ve all seen the terrible pictures of the refugee crisis in Europe, and for anyone who wants to help, BristolCon have a couple of things running.

Once again we will have our popular book swap table in the corridor for people to drop off books they no longer want, and collect ones they might. Last year we donated any books left over at the end to Oxfam, and this year we will be passing on any remaining books, or any books people want to donate, to the Jungle Library at the refugee camp in Calais.

In addition to that, our former GOH and all-round fabulous person Emma Newman will be at BristolCon and you will be able to find her in public spaces crocheting blanket squares. She says anyone who is able to knit or crochet (so that counts Mrs Fumblethumbs here out, but I’ll be providing tea) is welcome to join her for chats about writing, crafting etc, and at the end of the day she will collect up the blanket squares you have made and turn them into blankets to be sent to Calais and beyond.

She talks about it here on her blog in more detail.

Misa Buckley has just said she will be doing the same in the dealers room, so bring your yarn with you. And thank you to Emma and Misa for your kindness and generosity. Hopefully we will end the day with a ton of blanket squares!

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Amnesty Bristol – Comic And Graphic Novel Sale!

September 3rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Amnesty Bristol – Comic And Graphic Novel Sale!

Our friends at the legendary Amnesty Bookshop, 103 Gloucester Road, are having one of their semi-regular comic and graphic novel sales on Saturday 12th September between 1-5pm. They have huge quantities of stock in mint or near mint condition, including some rarities, so get down there and flick through the racks.

We also have a little deal with Colin and Richard in the Amnesty store, just for you. If you go down there on a Friday afternoon, or phone the store to make an appointment to do that, say the magic words “Joanne Sent Me” and you will be whisked through a magic portal into another dimension (well, taken upstairs) so you can see and rifle through the amazing collection of comics they don’t have room for in the shop. Colin also says he will be able to give a bit of a discount to anyone who wants to spend over £20 on comics in the Amnesty Secret Comics Stash!

This does only apply on Friday afternoons, otherwise poor Colin might be swamped!

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Eating Out At BristolCon

August 28th, 2015 · Comments Off on Eating Out At BristolCon

Lunchtime at BristolCon will be at 2pm. You probably won’t want to leave the hotel as we have a mass signing and our lovely chair-person is launching her new book in Panel One (hint), but if by any chance you want to wander off and get some food we have some recommendations.

The hotel bar does paninis and light lunches, but it can get a little crowded. If you want to venture further afield, the Arc Cafe is next door, in the crypt beneath the beautiful church of St Mary Redcliffe, one of Bristol’s most famous buildings. This is a volunteer-run cafe staffed by recovering addicts (so it’s all in a good cause) with free wifi, good coffee, and a range of sandwiches, baguettes and hot food (and cake). The Arc Cafe seats about 70 and they are very friendly. Due to the nature of the cafe, they don’t serve alcohol.

Across the road is the Portwall Tavern, universally known as the Little Blue Pub. It’s easy to find, it’s on the far side of the car park opposite the hotel and it’s blue. And little. They do pub grub and real ale.

Also within walking distance of the Hilton Doubletree is the Hole In The Wall, which is a nice pub that backs onto Queens Square but can get crowded at times so it’s advisable to book – not ideal if you’re in a hurry but the food is tasty.

But if you decide not to eat out there will be free cake and wine at the book launch, so you should totally stick around for that….

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